This past June, the ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) honored 43 students from over 15 countries for their success in completing the 2015/2016 Adult Education Program. The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program is the only program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the North and West End neighborhoods. The program’s mission is to provide English language skills to adult immigrants in order to prepare students for success in their next steps, such as college, job training, employment for the first time, advanced employment, and/or to become active participants in their communities.
This year the students were honored to have Maria Stella Gulla, NE/WE NSC Director, as keynote speaker. She shared some inspirational words to celebrate the students’ achievements, many of whom have to juggle work, their families here, and supporting their families back home financially. Maria Stella enthused, “The ESOL program is very dear to me. As the oldest daughter of immigrants, I know how important it is to learn English in order to achieve the goals that you set when you made the life changing decision to come to this wonderful nation of opportunities. My parents did not have the option of attending an ESOL class –it was another time. Translations and interpretations were left to the oldest child to be the parent to the parent. Our ESOL program strives to give you the initial tools to reach your fullest potential and connect you, the students, to resources as you learn English; to find sustainable employment; and/or enroll in college or job training programs. “
Thanks are also due to the new ESOL Coordinator Nikola Kovacevic; Instructor, Sean Keane; Educational and Career Advisor, Don Strange; and former ESOL Coordinator, Gretchen Yochum. The ESOL program also gratefully acknowledges its dedicated volunteers: Elizabeth Phillips, Joanne Kelley, Aferdita Gora, Eve Howell, Erin Miller, Pillar Herrero, and Cristina Quintino.
The program thanks its community partners and stakeholders: the Career Navigator Yi Yi Lu, at the Asian American Civic Association; Bunker Hill Community College (Shawn Fisher); Eagle Bank (Gisela DiPaola); the North End Branch of the Boston Public Library (Susan Voloshin and Jennifer Hawes); Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition (Cristina Aguilera ,Amy Grunder, and Masill Miranda ); North End Music and Performing Arts Center (Sheri Snow); North End Waterfront Health Center (Bianca Recinos and Mirna Festi);The Old North Church (Rev. Ellie Terry); Roxbury Community College (Chelsea Clark); Suffolk University (Jannese Kaitz); and many others.
The program wishes to thank one more time the Red Sox, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Paul Revere House for providing tours to the students and helping them to acclimate to American culture and history.
The NE/WE NSC would like to share the accomplishments of its students, and to highlight to the community what a sound investment Adult Basic Education (ABE) and ESOL programs are. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list!
For the 2015/2016 school year:
- 43 students received certificates.
- 15 students found a job, or got a promotion, and one student opened a small business.
- Four students attained legal residency.
- One student enrolled in the Math Program at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS).
- One student enrolled in the Bank Teller Program (JVS) while in the ESOL program at NE/WE NSC.
- One student was admitted to the transition to college at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and two students have enrolled in the BHCC summer ESOL program.
- Five students enrolled in additional English classes.
- One student enrolled in entrepreneurial classes.
The NE/WE NSC wishes graduating students the best of luck and returning students a safe and happy summer. See you in September!
For those interested in the ESOL Program, please call the center at 617 523-8125 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Classes begin the Tuesday after Labor Day.